Excel Web Scraping Solutions To Try Out Today
Web scraping remained the first choice of many for accessing public internet data in bulk for a very long time. Various existing web-scraping solutions intend to cater to different needs and wants, and Excel is one of them. Those who know Excel well also know it’s probably the best choice to make when one has to have bulk information managed in a highly structured format.
It has many impressive and web-scraping-friendly features.
As Excel has existed since 1987, one might consider whether it’s still valid or can be used as a viable web scraping solution. In this post, we have covered everything about Excel as a web scraping solution, its pros and cons, and many other things.
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Web Scraping With Excel – A Viable Tool To Try
Web scraping is the process of collecting publicly offered internet data in bulk and using it for multiple purposes like email marketing, digital marketing, and many more. Web scraping empowers businesses with data, which is the core of everything.
Out of all the tools and technology that one can use for web scraping, Excel is the most primitive one. Businesses seeking web scraping prefer Excel as a web-scraping means because of its amazing web query feature that is useful to fetch website data and extract it efficiently.
As it’s super easy to learn, anyone can easily become a scraping expert. Excel has been here for a very long time, and almost everyone is aware of its nitty-gritty. It is a crucial reason behind the vast popularity of Excel.
But, it’s losing its sheen slowly and gradually as web scraping nowadays demands extensive data handling. This is impossible with Excel as it can’t process too much data in one go.
Excel Web Query – Key To Scrape The Web
While you’re planning to use Excel for web queries, it’s imperative to learn about them, as this is the core of web scraping. Web query is an in-built Excel feature that permits HTML content generation in Excel worksheets. To make it possible, the feature passes the required parameters of the web page and assists in workbook-based data display.
The feature is quite useful in situations when customary ODBC connect isn’t readily available for merely getting web page data.
How does web scraping in Excel work?
The core of web scraping in Excel is to get external data. While you’re doing so, make sure:
- The device you’re using for web scraping has an active internet connection.
- The intent URL features a static data table.
- During the automated file saving, the targeted data-driven device should also be connected to the internet.
Basically, setting up an Excel web query is all about generating a ‘web query’ that will be used to connect a web URL to the internet and fetch the intended web page from the server.
When Excel starts receiving the HTML, it starts striping the tables present on the intent page. You can even select the tables from the page.
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Ways To Scrape Data In Excel
You have multiple options to scrape the data. For instance:
- You can copy/paste the data
It is the most common and preferred way to scrape the web with Excel. You copy the intended public data and paste it into a CSV or text file. That’s it.
- Push the data
You can also push the data from the system into a particular worksheet. But not every app supports this method.
- Pull the data
Like pushing the data, you can also pull the data from any outside resource. You will require an external data feature of Excel for this function.
Advantages of Using Excel For Web Scraping
Excel is an established tool and is helpful in many ways. It’s a great deal to make for web scraping as well because:
- It makes data analysis easy with features like commands, functions, and tools for analysis possible.
- Auto data refreshing is likely, as the Web Query feature does that automatically.
- Web query customization is easier than ever with Excel.
Limitations To Experience With Excel For Web Scraping
While Excel is great for web scraping, it’s not the best as it has certain evident limitations. For instance:
- It’s not useful to scrape the data at large. Scalability is something that Excel doesn’t prefer at all.
- Extracting data not present in a table format isn’t possible.
- Advanced web scraping features like infinite scrolling, Ajax, and paginations are missing.
Alternative Web Scraping Solutions
If you seek scalable and restriction-free web scraping, Excel web scraping isn’t suggested. You need to watch out for some other viable web scraping solutions.
You can use Ruby and Python programming languages for web scraping. For bulk data scraping, you can try an automated web scraper. They are a pre-built tool capable of doing every step of web scraping with full accuracy. These tools hardly demand any human effort.
There are web-scraping APIs as well. Often known as web crawler API, web scraping APIs are useful for creating customized web scraping solutions at ease. You can use these APIs in your app or product to support web scraping. You also use web APIs directly and promote web scraping. Google Map View is the most common example of web scraping API.
Web scraping is what we all have to do to win over the internet and have access to quality data. There are many ways to make it happen, and using Excel is one of them. Its web query feature will make web scraping easier than before. However, this will not rule the web scraping world’s future as it has limited data accessibility.
If you’re looking for bulk data scraping, Excel isn’t a bet to make. It will crash immediately. Alternatives like automated web scrapers and web scraping APIs can fill the gaps that Excel creates in web scraping. Try them out today.
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You can easily scrape the data from Excel using CSV files. Copy-pasting the content and exporting reports into CSV format using tools like ParseHub will let you do scraping without much difficulty.